P8475423 at vmsuser.acsu.unsw.EDU.AU P8475423 at vmsuser.acsu.unsw.EDU.AU
Sun Sep 17 19:43:31 MDT 1995

Re Scott's comment on revolution being a qualitative change--so too
is any reform. There is an order of magnitude difference in the degree
of qualitative change, of course; but what chaos theory cautions is
that you're more likely to end up where you'd like to be if your
final change is preceded by a lot of smaller changes, than in one
"big bang". I see such a warning as conservative rather than
reactionary--with the emphasis on the positive meaning to conservative,
of course! The revolutionaries in Russia and Kampuchea I am sure did
not "intend" Stalin or Pol Pot; but that is what they got. More of an
eye to the potential for unintended consequences from large scale
change may have resulted in less of a demonized outcome.

There is also a danger in seeing chaos theory as a "tool" vs chaos
as a feature of reality. Sure, the theory can be used to support
reactionary propositions. But it can also be used to support
progressive ones (as I have done in my JPKE paper). The solid
thing in all this ideology is that chaos is an expression of
the nature of reality in any system where "the whole is more
than the sum of its parts". Therefore, some of the features of
chaos that mathematicians have isolated contain warnings for
anyone who would change any aspect of any complex system--whether
that be a social system, or a dripping tap.


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